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Microsoft’s Cortana Siri Competitor Shown Off On Video

by Brandon Russell | March 4, 2014March 4, 2014 2:00 pm PST

Among the new features coming to Windows Phone 8.1, the most anticipated—by far—is the arrival of Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant described as a cross between Siri and Google Now. And while we’ve heard plenty of information, and even got a glimpse thanks to some leaked photos, a new video has hit the Internet that shows off exactly how Microsoft’s technology will work.

As reported, Cortana is expected to replace Windows Phone’s built-in Bing search, offering up a more emotional take on predictive technology. The video illustrates many of these points, demonstrating Cortana’s setup process and the information the technology needs to provide a thorough and intelligent experience. From the get-go, Cortana will ask for your permission to access personal information, and after that, the assistant will take you through a series of questions so it better learns what you like. One of the questions includes, “What are a couple of the most enjoyable parts of your everyday evenings?” And so on.

In an earlier report, sources claimed Cortana would store this contextual information in a “Notebook,” which will lead to a deeper and more predictive experience depending on how much information you provide. The data is reportedly central to Cortana’s effectiveness, and is necessary if users wants information provided to them without even asking. The video doesn’t show much beyond Cortana’s early setup process, though we do get a brief look at the “Quiet Hours” function, which is essentially like Do Not Disturb.

The big thing we don’t get out of this video is what Cortana sounds like. We’re expecting the assistant to sound like the character from Halo voiced by the same actress, but that hasn’t been confirmed. Aside from the series of contextual questions, we get a look at Cortana’s animated icon, too, which is essentially used to indicate the feature is working. An official Windows Phone 8.1 announcement is expected to drop at Microsoft’s Build developer’s conference in April, so we still have some time to go until we know every last detail.

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...